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NASCAR NOTES: Chase predictions from Lugnut

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images for NASCAR Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images for NASCAR
Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy" Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy"
RICHMOND, VA - (RNN) -

It's that time of the year when all NASCAR reporters start to make predictions on the Chase. I didn't want to be left out conversation so I decided to jump into the pool with both feet.

The 2012 season has been received by fans with mixed reactions. Some have expressed disappointment with the lack of excitement while others have been energized with the closeness of the wild-card race.

Now that the field is set, here are my predictions on who will be leaving Homestead in 10 weeks with the title.

Greg Biffle has proven that his team will be a force in the Chase. I'm not sure that the Roush team will hold up to the pressure but he could surprise a lot of folks down the stretch. This team could be a sleeper if they get off to a fast start.

Brad Keselowski is another driver to keep an eye on. It will be his first true chance at winning a title but I feel the pressure will get to him and his team. However, he will be someone to watch but no title this time.

You can't ignore Jimmie Johnson. His five consecutive titles speak for themselves and his team is still on top of their game. Look for him to be a major factor but I don't see a sixth championship in his future.

Defending Champion Tony Stewart will bring out the big guns in an attempt to defend his title, but I'm afraid that the magic will not return this season. His team has been too up and down to sustain another title run.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been very consistent this season and if his team can continue that consistency and win a few races, this could be his year. I look for him to be in it all the way to Homestead.

If you are looking for a dark horse, you might want to keep an eye on Martin Truex Jr. That team has been fast and he could be a real spoiler in the Chase. I know that this is his first true title test but the Michael Waltrip Racing team has been defying the odds all year and this could be a great stage for an upset.

And finally, my pick for the 2012 title is Denny Hamlin. You can't ignore the obvious and not make Hamlin your favorite for the title. After all, he and his team start the Chase on top and have more momentum than any other. Add to that his crew chief, Darian Grubb, is the defending Cup Series Champion and you have a combination that is peaking at just the right time.

So, there you have it. Sure someone might get on a roll and surprise us but, those are my predictions for the Chase and I'll be right here to keep you informed till the end.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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